The All India Chess Federation (AICF) has withdrawn Team India from the upcoming World Cadet Chess Championship 2023, scheduled to be held in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, from October 14 to 23, amidst Israel’s war against Hamas. In a statement issued by AICF, the decision to withdraw the Indian team was taken after due deliberations, in regards to the ongoing situation between Israel and Palestine in the Gaza Strip.
The situation came to a head on October 7, after Hamas launched surprise rocket attacks and ground assaults on civilians in Israel, killing hundreds of thousands of them. It led to Israel responding with a counter-offensive on Hamas, which has claimed scores of lives on the other side too.
The statement issued by AICF regarding the matter, as reported by ANI, read, “Considering the ongoing situation in the Gaza Strip, between Israel and Hamas, and the age of participants, after due deliberations, it was decided to withdraw the participation of the Indian team in the World Cadet Chess Championship-2023.”
“The All India Chess Federation took this decision considering all the aspects of safety and security of young players as Egypt shares the border with Gaza as well as Israel. Sharm el Sheikh, the host city for the championship is less than 400 KM from the Israel border and the conflict can significantly impact commercial airlines in the Middle East on short notice,” it further read.
AICF also talked about how hard it was for them to make this decision to withdraw from the championship, especially in regard to the nearly year-long preparation from the Indian players. They concluded, “The Federation took this hard decision based on force majeure and unforeseen scenarios as we give paramount importance to the safety of our players even though our players put in almost one year of training to participate in this important event.”